Accountability & Responsibility Part III

In part three of our accountability and responsibility series,  we'll cover setting goals and expectations and creating and sharing ownership. In order for people to be accountable, they need to know what they are going to be accountable for. This is where goals and expectations come into play.

It's not difficult to set goals if you have a SMART formula. SMART is an acronym to provide guidance for goal setting.

  • S=Specific - when we make our goals too general we aren't able to visualize them, and if we can't see them, we have a hard time devoting our efforts toward reaching them. We are more apt to do a good job or remodeling a kitchen if we have a picture in our mind of how it will look when it's done.
  • M=Measurable - If we can't measure a goal, we have no idea how close we are getting to reaching it, and that can be de-motivating. For example, let's say you have decided you will save some money from every paycheck in order to take a vacation this summer. But if you don't set a specific amount each pay, and you don't have an amount you want to reach, you are less apt to put the money away.
  • A=Attainable - We sometimes think that we should set high targets or goals for ourselves in order to grow and stretch. Well, we do want to grow and stretch, but we set goals that aren't attainable, we soon get discouraged and we stop trying. The really high achievers in the world know this. They set goals that they know they can reach, with a little stretching, and when they get there, they set another goal they know they can reach. They climb the mountain one step at a time.
  • R=Relevant - Goals have to make sense and have some importance, or they will soon be discarded. Set goals that make sense to you. (Another word that is often used for the R in this acronym is Realistic).
  • T=Timed - Put a deadline on your goals. Deadlines are great for getting things done.

In addition to SMART goal setting, you want to include the three Ps.

  1. Personal: You set goals because you want to reach them, not because your boss or your spouse wants you to. Similarly, when you are helping your employees set goals, they must be goals that your employees want, not the goals you want for them. Without buy-in, you are wasting your time.
  2. Positive: We can create negative energy by saying what we aren't going to do, but the effect is more sustainable when we say what we will do.
  3. Put it in writing: writing your goals will help you remember them and remain focused.

Once you've successfully set your goals or worked with your employees to help them set the right goals, you're ready to create and share ownership. We've covered five of ten ways to do this (you'll have to take the class for the other five).

  1. Give employees the power to make decisions about how their job is done. When possible, give them say in the company's inner workings too. 
  2. Build rewards into the success of the company as well as individual departments. Make rewards based on results as well as actions.
  3. Keep communicaton as open as possible. Share successes and failures.
  4. Communication should be personal and intimate whenever possible - a meeting of 50 people with the CEO is far more effective than a newsletter or memo.
  5. When you hand off a project, let go completely. Be supportive and offer advice and resources, but don't problem solve or micro-manage. One way to do this is to focus on the end results only, not the details.

If you follow the SMART way to set goals and make sure these goals are aligned with the 3 Ps you will establish a strong foundation for sharing and creating ownership of these goals.